Young Barack Obama Film Casts Devon Terrell, 'The Witch' Star Anya Taylor-Joy (Exclusive)
The film sees Obama as a college student exploring the Big Apple.
The story of a young Barack Obama trying to find his way in 1981 New York City has found its two leads.
Devon Terrell and Anya Taylor-Joy, the star of the hit horror movie The Witch, will star in Barry, an indie drama being directed by Vikram Gandhi, a Vice correspondent who made the documentary Kumare.
Black Bear Pictures (The Imitation Game) is producing with Cinetic Media. The movie is expected to begin shooting in April.
Barry explores the time when Obama was a college student in New York City and forged key relationships, including with a fellow student (Taylor-Joy).
The script was written by Adam Mansbach, the author perhaps best known for the adult children’s book Go the F*** to Sleep. He also tackled race with his novel Angry Black White Boy.
Black Bear's Teddy Schwarzman and Ben Stillman are producing the pic along with Cinetic's Dana O'Keefe as well as Gandhi.
Barry is the second young-Obama tale making its way to the big screen. Southside With You, a film about the early years of Obama's relationship with first lady Michelle Obama, premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Miramax and Roadside acquired the project, which stars Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter as Barack and Michelle.
Taylor-Joy became a bit of a Sundance sensation when The Witch debuted at the festival in 2015. A24 recently released the film in theaters in the U.S., where it took in $8.8 million in its debut.
The actress has already shot lead roles in Morgan, Fox's sci-fi thriller directed by Luke Scott (Ridley Scott's son), and M. Night Shyamalan's new thriller Split. Next up for Taylor-Joy is the drama Huntsville opposite Shea Whigham. She is repped by CAA, UK's Troika and Felker Toczek.
Terrell was discovered by 12 Years of Slave filmmaker Steve McQueen, who gave him the lead role in his HBO pilot, Codes of Conduct, after undertaking an exhaustive worldwide talent search. Barry will be his film debut. The actor is repped by CAA and IMC in Australia.
Gandhi, whose Kumare won the audience award at SXSW in 2011, is repped by UTA and attorney Victoria Cook of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. Mansbach is repped by CAA and 3 Arts.
March 1, 12:40 p.m.: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified rapper Devvon Terrell as the lead.